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HARDWARE Basics for Owners of Old Houses

Here’s our curated selection of information about traditional hardware—everything from early American rat-tail hinges to hammered copper bail pulls and mid-century chrome. Find information on salvage and repair, too!
antique door knob

Hardware is the house’s jewelry, as with this Aesthetic Movement door set.

Material comes from Old-House Journal, Old-House Interiors, and Arts & Crafts Homes magazines, and includes stories by contributors and editors.


Hardware is the jewelry in a room—and, in its period precedent, material, and finish, hardware defines a style. You can mix and match, of course, as most old houses have hardware from various periods, both the originals and changes that came later. You can still buy antique and vintage hardware, as new-old stock (never used) or salvaged and refinished.

The reproduction market is lively, offering iron goods from the forge … hammered work reminiscent of Dirk Van Erp and the metal shops of Stickley and the Roycrofters … proto-Modern designs inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh … and influences from French to Japanese. Hardware is produced in iron and steel, brass, copper, and bronze (not to mention ceramics and glass), with patina-rich finishes or in a high polish.

sponsored by Acorn Manufacturing

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What Cabinet Hardware for What House Style?

More Period Hardware Styles

The Search for Antique Hardware (and when to choose reproduction)

The Guild: Eric Delong of Acorn Manufacturing

How to Buy Reproduction Hardware

Outdoor Hardware for Bungalows & 20th-Century Homes

Reuse of a Stunning Victorian Door Set

How to Strip Crusty Hardware

Arcane Hardware: What Is It?

Suppliers: A comprehensive list of hardware companies

Suppliers: A directory of Arts & Crafts hardware makers

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